The Yankees return home to face a familiar foe when the play the Royals this week for a four-game series. The Yankees took two out of three in Kansas City last week before playing Tampa Bay and then flying back here to play the Royals again.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing?
“I think you can look at it either way,” Joe Girardi said on Monday afternoon. “From a work standpoint and preparation standpoint it’s a lot easier for us. Sometimes, pitchers don’t want to see a club right away twice in a row. But I think you have to think about what you did right and you have to think about the adjustments you have to make.”
Girardi is certainly right about the pitchers. Right handed reliever Tyler Clippard wasn’t looking at it either way. “I don’t think any pitcher ever likes that,” Clippard said. “Just the more a hitter sees you and sees your stuff, I think the better chance they have.”
Clippard pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in New York’s 7-1 win over the Royals on May 16. While last week’s games were in pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium and this series will be in the Bronx, Clippard doesn’t think that matters. “Not really. No,” Clippard said. “Each guy has their own things that they do and you have your own strengths and weaknesses, so at the end of the day the game kind of stays the same in what you’re trying to do and how you’re getting those results to stay the same. So nothing changes there.”
It’s also a matchup between two surprising teams. The first place Yankees and the last place Royals. Jason Vargas is on the mound for a Kansas City tonight. Vargas started the year 5-1 but the Yankees scored six runs in four innings off Vargas in his last start en route to an 11-7 victory. “You have to use the whole field against Jason Vargas,” Girardi said. “He’s got a very good changeup, he’s gonna try to keep you off balance. He’s not gonna blow you away with the fastball. I think you have to stay off other things that he does but he pitches.”
Girardi added that chasing would play into Vargas’s hands and that the Yankees were able to make him work. So can the Yankees do it again or will Vargas make the adjustment?